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Why This Matters: Hurricane season really gets serious only now, so the worst is still ahead of us. And the revised forecast is a big increase over what had been forecast at the beginning of the season when NOAA said there was a 70% chance of 13 to 19 named storms. Now they have 85% certainty it will be much worse. In fact, they expect that there could be three to six storms that end up as major hurricanes like Maria, Dorian, and Michael, which caused so much destruction and will take billions of dollars to rebuild and years of recovery efforts. More than 100,000 people across 3 states are still without power just from Tropical Storm Isaias, which does not bode well for the rest of the season.
According to NOAA, this year has seen a “record-setting nine named storms so far and has the potential to be one of the busiest on record. Historically, only two named storms form on average by early August, and the ninth named storm typically does not form until October 4.” Why so bad? The ocean is particularly warm in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and the tropical Atlantic trade winds are weak, with reduced wind shears and a stronger West African monsoon season and these conditions are expected to remain in place for several months. NOAA’s lead hurricane prognosticator, Gerry Bell, explained “This year, we expect more, stronger, and longer-lived storms than average, and our predicted ACE range extends well above NOAA’s threshold for an extremely active season.”
Mega-storms caused by atmospheric rivers were once thought to be once-in-a-millennia occurrences, but atmospheric rivers are flooding California more frequently due to the warming atmosphere. The latest mega-storm may put a dent in the mega-drought, but experts say California may be trapped in a vicious wet/dry cycle. It may not be time for Californians to build an ark just yet, but climate-resilient infrastructure would […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer After a record-breaking drought, much of the West and Southwest has been hoping for a winter of rain. But with scientists predicting a second consecutive winter with La Niña conditions, the dry spell may be prolonged. La Niña is a climate pattern that tends to produce droughts in the […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor As California’s summer fire season comes to a close, autumn’s Santa Ana winds have intensified a fast-moving wildfire now terrorizing Santa Barbara County. The Alisal fire began Monday afternoon. Since then, it has engulfed 16,801 acres and is only 5% contained, according to CalFire. As a result, a portion […]
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